Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound called a polyphenol and is present in a number of common food items such as berries, grapes, vine, peanuts, etc. Plants that produce resveratrol do so partly as a protective mechanism and response to stressors within their environments, including the presence of insects or other predators, damage, injury, and fungal varieties. Resveratrol is believed to be one of the most potent polyphenols and a strong protector against aging and free radical damage.
The benefits of resveratrol were first discovered when researchers established that a variety of yeasts, microbes, insects and animals that were fed resveratrol experienced an increased lifespan. Several studies continued to confirm these longevity and anti-aging benefits, in their successful work on flies, fish, mice and nematode worms, all of which lived longer compared to control groups that were not treated with this phytonutrient.
Being a part of the polyphenol group, Resveratrol possesses antioxidant properties that are believed to help prevent the formation of cancerous cells.
How Does Resveratrol Work?
Resveratrol works as anti-oxidant and fights free radicals which contribute towards increased aging. Resveratrol can either passively cross cell membranes or interact with its receptors due to its unique physical and chemical properties, making it possible for Resveratrol to interact with inter and extracellular molecules effortlessly. It is because of this that its mechanism of action is triggered by one of the two means (at a cellular level):
- By developing its effect inside the nucleus
- Activating intracellular mechanism by first activating signalled pathways when binding to receptors of the cell membrane
The way it functions as an anti-aging substance can possibly be explained how it activates SIRT. A study suggests that it can directly activate NMNAT enzyme which increases the intracellular activity and levels of NAD+ which is likely to affect SIRT which primarily requires the presence of NAD+ in order to function. In another experiment, human cells were treated with Resveratrol independent of NMNAT enzyme. Even without the presence of NMNAT, Resveratrol still rejuvenated old cells which started to divide and develop longer telomeres with the restoration of the splicing factor expression. The cells not only started to appear younger but behaved more like younger cells as well.